Since President Obama took office in 2009, I’ve been in the curious position of defending him when in discussions with some of my more liberal friends. Because I’m a fan of health care reform, the stimulus package, and bringing the troops home, it’s been fairly easy to defend Obama to other Democrats around me, except in the case of Obama's recent Plan B decision.
But that doesn’t mean that I’m happy with every decision that Obama has made, especially in regard to women's health and Plan B. Today’s news that Obama is limiting the sale of the morning after pill to teenagers is discouraging to say the least and a blow to efforts to lower teen pregnancy rates. Plan B will no longer be available over-the-counter to anyone less than seventeen years of age.
Obama’s reasoning for this decision is that ten and eleven year olds should not be allowed to buy Plan B over-the-counter any longer. His thinking is that this is dangerous for pre-teens and pretty much observed that any parent would feel exactly the same way. However, Obama’s argument in regard to Plan B is specious at best and demonstrates a newfound willingness on his part to capitulate to the interests of the right-wing. First of all the changed regulation regarding the necessity of prescriptions for Plan B applies to teens under seventeen years old. If he were really concerned about the pre-teens as he said, couldn’t he have changed the regulation to impact kids under the age of twelve?
Second, it’s really difficult to understand how his decision on Plan B will help Obama. Since no right-wing organization or individual voter would support Obama anyway, I don’t really understand why he supported the changed regulation. Obama needs to pay attention to the needs of his political base and will have a more difficult time during his campaign without the strong support of women’s organizations who could funnel some money into his campaign.
Third, not every parent is against access to Plan B and those who are opposed to Plan B are often the same parents who would physically harm their young daughters if they knew that they were pregnant, which is the intent of making the drug more accessible to teenagers. Many teens would benefit from access to the drug without parental consent.
Access to birth control, abortion, and Plan B is important for women of all ages and for teenagers. The females of society have to endure the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy and should have the means necessary to prevent pregnancies. Obama's decision to limit access of Plan B is a step backwards in reproductive freedom and reproductive health. Hopefully, organizations like Planned Parenthood will continue to make strides and will make access to birth control and Plan B a priority for women and teens throughout each and every state in the United States. I am hopeful that the decision regarding Plan B will not last long. The Plan B decision needs to be reversed.